By Chris Harris

Every football-loving kid in England grows up with the FA Cup and Nico Yennaris was no different. And his biggest memories are all Arsenal ones.

The London-born 18-year-old made his FA Cup debut as a substitute for the injured Francis Coquelin in the third-round win over Leeds United earlier this month and is in the frame to start Sunday's fourth-round tie with Aston Villa.

Arsenal are chasing their first final appearance since the 2005 win over Manchester United in Cardiff - a triumph that concluded a run of four appearances at the Millennium Stadium in just five seasons. Yennaris was there for every one of them.

"I remember going to those four finals with my dad," he told Arsenal Player. "Some were good, some not so good!

"The Liverpool one was the first I went to at the Millennium Stadium and we lost that game, Michael Owen scored in the last 10 minutes. Then there was Chelsea where Ray Parlour and Freddie Ljungberg scored a couple of screamers, Southampton where Pires scored and then Man United where Vieira scored the winning penalty. 

"I think the FA Cup is always special because it gives the lower league teams a chance to show what they can do. As we've seen over the last few years, some of those teams surprise the bigger teams so I think it has still got that spark to it."

There's nothing 'lower league' about Villa of course and, although Sunday's visitors could be without Charles N'Zogbia - a potential direct opponent for Yennaris - they still pose a serious threat.

"I think they have been up and down this year with some bad results and some good results," said Yennaris. "But we know the players in that team and we know that there is quality there so they can be a threat at any time."

Watch the full interview with Nico on Arsenal Player. 

Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to as the source
26 Jan 2012